America Can No Longer Support Its Own Needs

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America is running on imports. Meeting the basic needs of the average American on only American-made products is incredibly difficult, if not impossible. Living on imports is not sustainable in the long-term, and the United States needs to find a way to pry itself out of this increasingly desperate situation if it wishes to maintain any quality of life for its citizens.

America’s trade deficit is staggeringly high because our policies have allowed it to grow out of control. Our government has pursued free trade policies under the guise of increasing exports. The theory is that we will open up new markets for American-made goods and services by reciprocally opening our borders to other countries. But if the goal is to expand American manufacturing, it has been a massive failure.

According to Representative Betty Sutton (D-Ohio), the United States has lost an average of 15 manufacturing facilities per day for the past 10 years.  This is the exact opposite of what was supposed to happen from expanding our free trade agreements. Not only are we not increasing our exports to other countries, but facilities that could supply goods to Americans are going out of business due to competition with cheap foreign labor. With those factories out of business, Americans are forced to buy imports.

When Americans buy imports, very little of their money stays in the United States. Instead of going to support local manufacturers, farmers and individuals, the profits find their way overseas. If that money instead went to American manufacturers, it would go to pay the wages of American workers, who would in turn spend it in their communities, which would support more American jobs.

When these jobs disappear, communities crumble. Schools lose their tax base and the quality of education goes down, leaving the next generation of Americans at a great disadvantage.  Hospitals and police forces also face budget shortfalls, making Americans less healthy and less safe. Buying cheap goods made in China may seem like a good deal now, but the long-term costs are staggering.  We need to rethink our current direction and take action to remedy our misguided trade policies.

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